Town centre chief advises traders to quit

ONE of Dewsbury’s most historic shopping streets is finished as a retail centre, according to town centre planners.
Last week The Press revealed that recessionravaged Daisy Hill was no longer classified as part of the town centre. That angered traders who claimed they were being left to rot.
Speaking to The Press this week Andrew Sloman pictured right Dewsbury’s town centre manager, said while he had every sympathy for Daisy Hill traders there had to be a new vision for the town centre.
Mr Sloman revealed that under the 25year regeneration masterplan, set to be published by architects Bauman Lyons next month, Daisy Hill would be earmarked for residential use, not retail.
“I am very sympathetic towards struggling traders wherever they are in the town and there is no sense of malice here,” said Mr Sloman.
“It is daft to say Daisy Hill is no longer part of the town centre, of course it is, but the question is what happens in the future.
“Bauman Lyons see the future of Daisy Hill as residential and a desirable place for people to live.”
Mr Sloman went further and suggested that traders in Daisy Hill should look to move out now.
“I know this is not easy but I would encourage traders to look at other premises in the town centre,” he said.
“I have huge sympathy for businesses that have found themselves isolated and one solution would be for them to look at units in busier areas of the town.
“The future for towns like Dewsbury is not just in big name stores but also a good range of independent shops and we don’t want to lose them.”
Mr Sloman admitted Daisy Hill’s vacancy rate was “fairly desperate”. He agreed with traders’ concerns over the Dewsbury DIY Centre, a large retail unit which, it is claimed, is simply used for storage.
The shuttered premises have not opened for business in about eight years and traders cannot understand why a large retail unit has been allowed to become a warehouse.
Mr Sloman agreed and described it as “baffling”. He said the owners had been spoken to without much response.
He said if traders could provide evidence that the premises were being used for storage and if planning laws had been contravened, then the council would take action.
Mr Sloman said the aim of the regeneration blueprint was to look at the town centre as a whole and not “tinker with bits and pieces.”
He added: “If this blueprint says that Daisy Hill is not working as a retail environment and that there may be a better use for it then we have to look at it.”

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